Las Vegas (CNN)President Donald Trump said Thursday he won’t act to grant clemency to his friend and former associate Roger Stone right now, saying he wants the process to play out before making a decision.
“I’m not going to do anything in terms of the great powers bestowed upon a president of the United States, I want the process play out, I think that’s the best thing to do,” Trump said in Las Vegas. “Because I’d love to see Roger exonerated and I’d love to see it happen because I personally think he was treated very unfairly.”
The President didn’t rule out an eventual pardon or commutation, but said the process should play out first.
“At some point I’ll make a determination, but Roger Stone and everybody has to be treated fairly. And this has not been a fair process,” Trump said.
Stone was sentenced to 40 months in prison earlier Thursday. He was convicted last fall of lying to Congress and threatening a witness regarding his efforts for Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Trump still delivered a full-throated defense of his longtime friend, saying: “They said he lied, but other people lied, too.”
The President made his remarks before an audience of former prisoners graduating from a program designed to give felons a second chance in society and the workforce.
Trump’s familiar rant against the criminal justice system was met with curious looks from some of the graduates and their families, particularly when he declared: “These people know about a bad jury.”
The venue for the speech was also remarkable, with the President launching into a critique of law enforcement — referring to “dirty cops” at one point — from a room inside the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
“Roger has a very good chance of exoneration in my opinion,” Trump said at the prisoner reentry event.
He called Stone a “character.”
“He’s a smart guy, he’s a little different, but those are sometimes the most interesting. But he’s a good person. His family is